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Fighting Back Against Bad Painters Who Steal

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

I am proud of our website. I have invested countless hours into making it good great. Everything we do at Warline is to raise the bar in our industry. I am not alone either. I am seeing great things coming from like-minded companies that also want our industry rid itself of the "typical painter" stereotype.

But we have a long way to go. Bad Painters out number good ones by a long shot. Substandard work is still the norm.

And the internet has created a whole new breed of Bad Painters. Painters that promise the moon and don't deliver. Painters that claim they care but don't really care about providing decent service or a quality job. Painters that have no problems with doing and saying whatever it takes to get a job.

That includes stealing the text and pictures from other painter's websites to use on their own.

I can't tell you how many times the text and the photos from my website have been copied by other painters to use on their own site.

It happens so often I have a standard email template on file that I keep on hand to email them.

Developing a good website is not easy. Writing good copy is tough work. It takes time and talent. I spend a lot of money to professionally photograph our work. That's why our photos look so good. I work very hard and invest a lot of time, effort and money to make our website as good as it is.

News flash. I am not doing it to make life easier for the hack painters out there. I am not writing quality content for someone else to re-massage as their own. I am not for sale and my content is not free for the taking because someone likes it.

So I am fighting back. 

Much like I am calling out bad paint jobs and bad practices when I see them, I am calling out the painters that steal my writing and photos from my website.

If you steal my photos; if you copy my text and only replace my name for yours; if you use my website as a template for yours and don't bother to create your own, I will come after you.

I will shame you on Facebook. I will tweet to the world that you stole my stuff. I will ask your customers the question "If they would steal photos and content from a website, what would they be willing to steal from your home?" Just like I did to this guy.

Not only did Eldwick copy the text from my site, they copied photos of Warline's work. 

I think if you have a painting company website and the photos you are posting are not of your own work (including stock images) you are misrepresenting yourself, but that is your business. However, if you are using photos of my work, that is literally MY business.

This screen shot from Eldwick Woodcraft shows images and text taken from Warline's website.  

I will go after you with full force. If you steal my stuff I will call you a thief.

Sound harsh? Good.

What you are doing is theft. It lacks integrity. It's lazy. It's dishonest. It's wrong.

It's a direct reflection of how you conduct your business and your customers deserve to be warned.

Exactly how sincere and how legitimate can CW Coatings code of conduct be when they stole it directly from my site? 

The entire text of CW Coatings Code of Conduct was taken from Warline's code of conduct. The only change they made was to replace Warline's name.

No one at CW Coatings wrote this code of conduct. I did. They didn't sit down and spend hours developing a protocol that every member of their team adheres to. They didn't spend time thinking about what a customer should expect from CW's employees. They saw Warline's code of conduct, liked it, copied it and pasted it onto their site thinking it might impress someone into hiring their company. A code of conduct is a really good thing to have. Write your own.

And I don't care anymore if your website designer or employee stole my content and used it for your site and you didn't know. It's your site, your company and your reputation. If someone else is writing your content it is your job to make sure they aren't stealing it.

I will notify your web hosting company. If they have social media, I will use it to shame you more. I will push them to take down your entire site. I've done it many times. The difference is now I will do it publicly.

I will add your company to my list on this site. I will repost this article. For good measure I will include a screen shot of your plagiarism and laziness. One of the benefits of having such a great website is I get lots and lots of traffic.

Enjoy my site. Appreciate the hard work and thousands of hours and dollars that have gone into it. Visit me often. Gets some great ideas on how to make your painting company better. Just don't steal my stuff.

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

So you know what bugs me the most about this other than the fact that he has our company name on his site? It's that he told me his web designer did this and therefore it is totally okay. No it is not okay to steal copy from another painter's website and use it for your own. I think he should rename his company Un-Fairway Painting.

Posted by: Nick Dunse
Great post I had my first website in 2000-2001 had a article published in one of our Painting Contactor magazines showing off my site. Can't tell you how man times I was ripped off after that article. I love your site and your work you are a asset to professional painters. It is sad that there are many bad painters out there trust me I've seen many since the 70 s when we started.

Thanks Nick. I appreciate the compliment. It's good to know that I am not the only one this happens to.

Posted by: Heidi Nyline
When will these guys learn?

The latest crook to steal my content. My guess is that this is a classic example of a guy hiring a cheap website designer to create his site and the designer just takes content from other sites. Here's the rub. You get what you pay for.

Posted by: Kirby Hopper
You might be able to turn the picture stealing to your advantage. I've heard there''s a way to embed a link to your website in the picture so that you actually end up getting a backlink out of it which helps SEO. Not sure exactly how it's done, maybe John knows. He's even geekier than me :)

Thanks for stopping by Kirby. Honestly, I am not interested in any SEO juice I might get from these thieves. I don't need it and the benefits definitely don't out weigh the cost. I appreciate the effort to find the silver lining in this issue but I really want people to learn using content from the internet without permission is wrong.

Posted by: Paul Peck
I feel your pain Heidi. I like your approach and will start calling these type of website plagiarists out too. Social media will come in handy for this. Also, thanks for the G link John! :-) Thanks, Paul

Thanks Paul, 

The upside about my warning is I can be very efficient on getting offenders to comply and remove my content very quickly now. They don't want to end up on my list.

Posted by: Heidi Nyline
Here's the latest thief of my website.

 The kicker? Under their values they state nothing is too much trouble. Really? Seems writing their own content was too much trouble. They didn't even bother to take Warline's name out of their site.

Posted by: Robin's Yahoo Account
You can't fake quality. It's a lot of damn hard work, and you deserve the rewards for it! I am so sorry you have to expend energy defending your good name - however, it is NOT a waste of time. Keep it up!

Thanks Robin. 

Posted by: Daniel Wurm
Yep, great idea! We will do the same. We had a painter copy our name and pretend to be us. We are taking him to court, but I like the social media idea.

Thanks Daniel. Its a tough rode I know. Good luck with your battle.

Posted by: Krysteine
I would expect nothing less from you. Go Heidi Go!!

Thanks Krys.

Posted by: John Shearer
I enjoyed reading this Heidi. i can literally hear you screaming... Here is my take if you really want to bring down the hammer: don't ask them to remove content. Document with screen shots, copyscape, blah, blah. Then contact G. G is not good at most things but they do respond quickly to dupe content b/c it destroys trust and their whole gig is trust; trust in their SERP and usability and the adverts rev that comes along. Use this form

Thanks John. This is great advice. I like the idea of hitting them through G. Plagiarism is such a big issue on the Internet and unless we tackle it head on, the idea that stealing content from a website is acceptable will continue to grow.

Posted by: David Chism
Go Heidi! Thanks for saying what other painters in the industry should say! My take is that a business owner should practice what he (or she) preaches. If he does quality home painting, remodeling, etc. He should make sure that his business systems and marketing reflect that not only on the front end but behind the scenes. He should hire and/or produce great people, quality writing, photos, a website, print material etc...from people who know what they are doing. Your site, your content,

Thanks David. I agree that the buck stops with the business owner. Maybe we'll get to meet at a PDCA Expo.

Posted by: victoria @ The FAT Paint Company
LOVE. IT. Absolutely PERFECT post Heidi! Perhaps you've already thought of this, but consider lodging a complaint with their local Chamber of Commerce as well. They'll make note of it! Before highering a contractor, smart home owners check with the CoC (in addition to the contractor''s references) for customer feedback. And keep up the fight!! It's just a damn shame that in addition to your important full-time jobs (mom & warline) you have to become an internet police officer too :-( Vi

Thanks Victoria. That is great advice. 

Posted by: Jil Sonia McDonald
Do your actions seem harsh? No, not by a long shot. This is shameful, too bad they are international, or you could take them to court. Good for you, for finding this!

Thanks Jil.

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